[identity profile] grazzt.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Up next on my Naoki Urasawa lovefest (I may revisit the previous two series later) is 20th Century Boys. 20th Century Boys is strangely reminiscent of Stephen King to me (in a good way), only replacing King's love for classic Americana with Urasawa's native Japan (although they do intersect at times). 20th Century Boys is Urasawa's love song to his generation.

The premise behind it is almost absurd. Set in 1997, our protagonist, Kenji, is a failed musician now working at the family convenience store. One day, he notices a mysterious symbol has been left near a family who disappears. It turns out that this symbol was the sign of a group of friends, of whom Kenji was one, back when they were little kids. After a little digging, it turns out that a cult has appropriated not only the symbol, but also the mythology that the kids invented around themselves. Unfortunately this mythology includes a giant robot attacking Tokyo, presaging the end of the world...

It sounds a bit ridiculous, taken at face value. But Urasawa brilliantly crafts a tale filled with wonderful character moments, incredible suspense, and apocalyptic science fiction imagery.

Okay, enough of my yapping. On with the scans. The first batch are the very first pages of the manga. Playing T-Rex's "20th Century Boy" in the background is recommended for maximum effect. Reads right to left:

I think the great thing about this scene is how true it is. Juvenile rebellion is so common place that it just doesn't stand out at all, as much as the kids themselves think they're being daring.

Another scene, this one is a great examination of Urasawa's faces. Two women chatting:

The faces are brilliant. I love how you can see the shorter woman's horror mounting, until the punchline, where it's a perfect "You have got to be shitting me" face.

Sidenote: I was tempted to post only the first two of those scans as a "context for the weak" gag, but I decided the whole thing together is funnier. I'm sure most of you would have guessed the context, anyway.

Scans are from the scanlation at Spectrum Nexus and not the Viz translation. Pick that one up if you get the chance.

Date: 2009-06-23 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moneyless_jew.insanejournal.com
Saw the first two films on the big screen last weekend. Great fun.

Date: 2009-06-24 10:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nezchan.insanejournal.com
I have huge love for 20th Century Boys and the sequel. The way the plot plays out and the characterization of pretty much everybody is fantastic. You planning to post more?

Date: 2009-06-24 10:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meatwhichdreams.insanejournal.com
Yanno, I don't think I really got that first one, and I didn't think the second one's joke was really all that funny, but this series has totally won me over. The body language and the faces alone make me all warm and happy inside.

Man, there's been so many unique and intriguing manga series posted these last couple of days AND I FRIGGIN LOVE IT.

Date: 2009-06-25 08:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kagome654.insanejournal.com
Ugh, now I have to decide if I want to read this or Pluto next...decisions, decisions....


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